Effexor - Anyone find it helps?

Posted by aces @aces, Mon, Feb 25 2:19pm

Hi All,

Lots of discussions around coming off Effexor. That could be for a lot of reasons – it doesn't work, or so many people take it there is always someone coming off of it.

Longtime anxiety sufferer here, been on Paxil for a longtime. I think it helped, but its not doing the job now.

I'm having more anxiety issues (GAD) now, so working with a Dr to taper down Paxil (which I've done in the past), and looking to try Effexor.

Any Effexor success stories to share?

Hi, @aces, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You pose a good question about whether venlafaxine (Effexor) can be helpful.

I'd like to invite into this discussion for their comments on whether venlafaxine (Effexor) has helped them @iowalakes @grandmar @kbmayo and my colleague, @kanaazpereira. @gailb also may have some thoughts on this.

Kudos to you for working with your doctor on the taper off of paroxetine (Paxil), as getting help from a professional to wean off an antidepressant is highly recommended. I'm guessing your doctor may have mentioned why he or she thinks that venlafaxine (Effexor) is the appropriate recommendation for you and your anxiety? What did they say about how it might be useful as the paroxetine (Paxil) is not helping sufficiently at this time?

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Effexor did help me for many years — until it didn't anymore. My dosage had increased over the years to 150XR daily and I didn't want to go any higher, but the depression was sapping me. I knew there were reasons for me to be depressed — part of it had definitely become situational — so I decided I wanted to taper off to see whether I could live depression- and anxiety-free without medication. Also, I hated the physical effects of missing even one dose. For close to 4 months, it was great. Then I began feeling depressed again and then the anxiety came roaring back. I'm back on medication, but definitely not Effexor — never again! I'm on 150mg of WellbutinXR, and my doctor has said he'll increase it to 300 if this isn't effective. I'm also now taking CBD (my decision, not his!) as well as using anxiety and depression workbooks, which definitely helps my thinking and gives me relief.
If I were starting medication now for the first time, I wouldn't want to take Effexor because it's so hard to taper off, but if other meds didn't work, then I'd give it a try.

Liked by Lisa Lucier, Lyn, falon

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Hi @aces,

I’m glad @lisalucier tagged me – welcome!
I took Effexor 300mg for over 10 years, and for most of those years it helped me tremendously with alleviating depression. The only listed side effect I experienced is elevated blood pressure which is regulated with Losartan or Cozaar.
However, like many drugs, I noticed a ‘plateau’ effect after taking a high dose for such a long time, and with the help of my doctor, I successfully switched medications about 3 years ago.
I hope this helps you in your decision about Effexor. It’s a tough journey, but you’ve come to the right place to talk with people who have similar experiences with health and to get support from members who understand what you are going through – I wish you all success.

Liked by Lisa Lucier, Lyn, falon

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Thanks everyone for the replies.

I don't have depression but anxiety.

Hoping the switch from a long time SSRI drug to a SNRI helps suppress the anxiety.

Liked by Lisa Lucier, Lyn

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I've been taking Effexor for… months, and increased dosage to 225 mg six weeks ago so that in addition to the serotonin, the dopamine affects would kick in. Although much better, the depression is still present.

I had been on Paxil at the highest dosage (way too high, looking back, I was somewhat manic, and I feel let down by the nurse practitioner who was my provider) for many years when I had decided to try life without antidepressants. The worst idea ever. I went off it with the help of a family doctor, then the depression came roaring back. I was in pain for a solid two years before the Effexor finally stamped down the worst of it. I'm very reluctant to mess with it, but I would really rather not live out the rest of my life with depression.

I exercise, have outdoor hobbies, and good relationships with adult children. I have good psychiatric care now. I need to make more effort and control distorted thoughts. I wish I had a life partner. Life isn't perfect and I've had and have a rather ominous cloud over my head from a manic decision to invest in a stupid real estate project. But, I'd like to think I can live life without depression.

I should add that I gained weight (starved for sugar and caffeine). I had itchy scalp that has cleared. I have salivation issues now, I think it's excess, but they say it's dry mouth. Not sure what that's all about. But, I'm really sick of it. With the weight gain I have high blood pressure and cholesterol that I need to get under control. Sigh.

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@shermananski

I've been taking Effexor for… months, and increased dosage to 225 mg six weeks ago so that in addition to the serotonin, the dopamine affects would kick in. Although much better, the depression is still present.

I had been on Paxil at the highest dosage (way too high, looking back, I was somewhat manic, and I feel let down by the nurse practitioner who was my provider) for many years when I had decided to try life without antidepressants. The worst idea ever. I went off it with the help of a family doctor, then the depression came roaring back. I was in pain for a solid two years before the Effexor finally stamped down the worst of it. I'm very reluctant to mess with it, but I would really rather not live out the rest of my life with depression.

I exercise, have outdoor hobbies, and good relationships with adult children. I have good psychiatric care now. I need to make more effort and control distorted thoughts. I wish I had a life partner. Life isn't perfect and I've had and have a rather ominous cloud over my head from a manic decision to invest in a stupid real estate project. But, I'd like to think I can live life without depression.

I should add that I gained weight (starved for sugar and caffeine). I had itchy scalp that has cleared. I have salivation issues now, I think it's excess, but they say it's dry mouth. Not sure what that's all about. But, I'm really sick of it. With the weight gain I have high blood pressure and cholesterol that I need to get under control. Sigh.

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Hi, @shermananski – thanks for your post. I can imagine it would be discouraging to try paroxetine (Paxil), no antidepressant, venlafaxine (Effexor) and then an increased dose of venlafaxine (Effexor), only to find that though it's much better, the depression is still present.

I'd like to invite @aces @kbmayo to return to this discussion to offer any input on their experiences with antidepressants as well as thoughts on where you might turn next. I'd also like to tag a few members to invite them into this discussion and offer their insights, like @parus @pearlbaby7 @karen00 @gingerw @peach414144.

I know that for me personally, on another antidepressant I started years ago, a pharmacist suggested it might take 2-3 months to stabilize and see the full effects of my medication. Has the prescriber for your venlafaxine (Effexor) offered any input on whether he or she expects you'd feel better at this point in taking the higher dosage? Did he or she have some suggestions for how to proceed at this point?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @shermananski – thanks for your post. I can imagine it would be discouraging to try paroxetine (Paxil), no antidepressant, venlafaxine (Effexor) and then an increased dose of venlafaxine (Effexor), only to find that though it's much better, the depression is still present.

I'd like to invite @aces @kbmayo to return to this discussion to offer any input on their experiences with antidepressants as well as thoughts on where you might turn next. I'd also like to tag a few members to invite them into this discussion and offer their insights, like @parus @pearlbaby7 @karen00 @gingerw @peach414144.

I know that for me personally, on another antidepressant I started years ago, a pharmacist suggested it might take 2-3 months to stabilize and see the full effects of my medication. Has the prescriber for your venlafaxine (Effexor) offered any input on whether he or she expects you'd feel better at this point in taking the higher dosage? Did he or she have some suggestions for how to proceed at this point?

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@lisalucier @shermananski Thank you for allowing me to give you my insight. I was on only one antidepressant many years ago, and that was citalopram. I did not take a high dose and it did take maybe a month or six weeks to establish a blood level in my system. Also remember to take the medication as prescribed with consistency, so you maintain a blood level. I also determined that just taking a medication is not enough. There are proactive things that you as a patient with depression have to step up to the plate to do. Medication is not a Panacea or the only thing to be done. There are efforts that each person has to do based on their particular situation to work with the depression they have and overcome the feelings so that things work out best for them as an individual. Everyone has their own experience and we can only offer our personal things that have happened to us.
Ginger

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@lisalucier

Hi, @shermananski – thanks for your post. I can imagine it would be discouraging to try paroxetine (Paxil), no antidepressant, venlafaxine (Effexor) and then an increased dose of venlafaxine (Effexor), only to find that though it's much better, the depression is still present.

I'd like to invite @aces @kbmayo to return to this discussion to offer any input on their experiences with antidepressants as well as thoughts on where you might turn next. I'd also like to tag a few members to invite them into this discussion and offer their insights, like @parus @pearlbaby7 @karen00 @gingerw @peach414144.

I know that for me personally, on another antidepressant I started years ago, a pharmacist suggested it might take 2-3 months to stabilize and see the full effects of my medication. Has the prescriber for your venlafaxine (Effexor) offered any input on whether he or she expects you'd feel better at this point in taking the higher dosage? Did he or she have some suggestions for how to proceed at this point?

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@lisalucier Thank you for the invitation. I agree with @gingerw that dealing with depression requires a multi-prong approach. @shermananski It sounds to me from what you describe that the Effexor is having some benefit. It did nothing for me. I finally found a doctor who could help me. However, my impression is that most people, including me, aren't super happy all the time. My meds keep me from falling in those deep dark holes that were getting harder and harder to get out of. Now that I'm out I have to make an effort to do the things that help make my life good. I also have no life partner but if I follow the doctor's recommendations for additional support and do the things that make me enjoy my life I can feel OK to good some days. I have a brain chemical imbalance and this medicine will be with me the rest of my life. I look at it like eating or brushing my teeth. It's just one of those things that's part of my day. Not every day is good but if I do things I should I can increase the number of better days. Everyone's life story is different. It sounds like you have some good support for your journey.

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Effexor has helped my anxiety very much! I take 150mg a year now . Only thing is I get hot & sweat
when I get busy working around the house .

Liked by Lyn

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@aces

Thanks everyone for the replies.

I don't have depression but anxiety.

Hoping the switch from a long time SSRI drug to a SNRI helps suppress the anxiety.

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The same with me ! All my life .

Liked by Lyn

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@veee7

Effexor has helped my anxiety very much! I take 150mg a year now . Only thing is I get hot & sweat
when I get busy working around the house .

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Hi, @veee7 – thanks for sharing your experience with venlafaxine (Effexor).

Sounds like you are saying the getting hot and sweaty when busy working around the house is a side effect you experience with this medication? If so, how do you counteract this symptom?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @veee7 – thanks for sharing your experience with venlafaxine (Effexor).

Sounds like you are saying the getting hot and sweaty when busy working around the house is a side effect you experience with this medication? If so, how do you counteract this symptom?

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Yes I’m sure it’s side effect . Didn’t have these problems on 75 mg . Only when I went up to 150mg. So I am very slowly reducing my dose until I stop sweating & being constipated. I take two 75mg capsules so week one I remove 2 beads from one capsule , week two I removed one more . So I will remove one extra each week until the side effects stop .

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